WASHINGTON, August 25, 2015—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved additional financing of US$5.1 million to support Ethiopia’s continued efforts to develop institutions and investments for integrated planning, management, and development of water resources in the Tana and Beles sub-basins.
The additional financing will support the foundation for long-term integrated water resources management in the sub-basins.
“The World Bank’s funding for the Tana and Beles project is an integral part of our larger support to watershed and landscape restoration and management in Ethiopia. Ensuring the sustainability of these institutions will be critical given the potential for replicating similar systems in other sub-basins,” said Sajjad Ali Shah, Ag. World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia.
Located in the Amhara and Benishangul-Gumuz regions, the Tana and Beles sub-basins are identified as the first of five proposed growth zones in the country included in the Government of Ethiopia’s (GoE’s) Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP). The sub-basins, which are major contributors to the Blue Nile system, are home to about three million people and are a significant source of hydropower, navigation, fisheries, and other key industries.
“In addition to establishing the Tana and Beles sub-basin organizations, the project has restored over 70,000 hectares of degraded watershed, upgraded 13 small scale irrigation schemes, enhanced flood early warning mechanisms, and modernized the hydro-meteorological monitoring system, including purchasing Ethiopia’s first weather RADAR,” said John Bryant Collier, World Bank Project Co-Task Team Leader.
“We are pleased that this additional financing will allow the project to consolidate the gains made and better prepare for the long-term sustainable management of the systems developed,” said Catherine Signe Tovey, World Bank Project Co-Task Team Leader.
As the Amhara and Benishangul-Gumuz regions grow economically, they also face a grave risk of unsustainable use of water resources, due to lack of proper management and coordination. The main challenges include climate risks such as floods and droughts, degrading watersheds, unsustainable fisheries, resource use conflicts, a poor knowledge base, and largely unplanned development. The project aims to strengthen the institutional capacity to tackle those challenges. The sub-basins also offer significant opportunities for enhanced growth in watershed protection and development, hydro-meteorological monitoring, tourism, and agricultural development and processing.